Evaluating the Free Agent Frenzy After the Dust has Settled
NBA Free Agency opened on Friday, November 20th at 5pm CST. Soon after, all of Twitter became an ‘NBA Insider’ claiming their ‘Sources’ and racing to be the first to report breaking news. Actual NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania were racing against one another to see who could type the quickest without making any grammatical errors.
In all seriousness, NBA Free Agency is the most exciting part about the NBA offseason along with the draft. This year, NBA fans are spoiled because the 2020 NBA Draft and the Opening of NBA Free Agency were separated by a mere 48 hours.
Like every year, there was no shortage of free agent drama. We had Dwight Howard tweet out that he is staying with the Lakers and then signs with the 76ers 5 minutes later. We saw Montrezl Harrell make a ring chasing move from the Clippers to the Lakers which came as a surprise to his Clipper teammates, especially Patrick Beverly. To cap it all off, we had the Detroit Pistons throw money at EVERYBODY… I almost received a Veteran Minimum contract from the Pistons…
Even before the NBA opened the free agent market, NBA fans were treated to some Pre-free agency commotion. The Bogdan Bogdanovic saga. It looked like he was traded from the Kings to the Bucks but apparently nobody notified him. The trade was then scrapped, and a subsequent tampering investigation ensued. Bogdan has since signed an offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks. If Sacramento does not match the offer, Bogdanovic will join the young core in Atlanta that hopes to make a splash in the postseason.
While the bulk of the free agent madness has subsided, money has been spent and roster spots are filling up, there are still a few big names that remain on the market. The players that remain on the market include.
- Anthony Davis
- Brandon Ingram — Restricted Free Agent
- Hassan Whiteside
- DeMarcus Cousins
- Kyle Korver
- Reggie Jackson
- Shabazz Napier
- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
- Evan Turner
- Andre Roberson
- Thon Maker
Anthony Davis and Brandon Ingram headline the list of remaining free agents on the market. However, it does not look like either of them will be moving to a new team.
Just like the draft, free agency sheds some light on the projected direction of any given franchise. The defending Champion, Los Angeles Lakers are shooting for a repeat with the additions they made. Coming off a Championship in the NBA Bubble, the Lakers added more depth to their roster. They went out and signed Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell. Amazing job by Rob Pelinka who is looking to capitalize on the remaining years of LeBron’s contract.
Another franchise that has had an impressive free agency is the Portland Trailblazers. A team that fell short in the Western Conference this past season is looking to re-tool their lineup for the 2020–21 season in hopes of making a run at the Larry O’Brien Trophy. They re-signed Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Hood, but also added depth with the additions of Harry Giles and former NBA Slam Dunk Champion, Derrick Jones Jr.
The Charlotte Hornets came away with one of the biggest name on the free agent market. Gordon Hayward finalized a 4 Year, $120 Million contract to move from Boston to Charlotte. After selecting LaMelo Ball with the 3rd overall pick, Hornets owner, Michael Jordan pulled the trigger on this move to bring in the veteran swing man in hopes of putting a contending team on the floor in the wide-open Eastern Conference.
Another team that has improved through free agency is the Atlanta Hawks. They went out and added Rajon Rondo to mentor Trae Young. They also signed Danilo Gallinari and Kris Dunn to add some much-needed depth. In addition, they have an offer sheet on the table for previously mentioned, Bogdan Bogdanovic. It does not look like the Kings are going to match the offer, but they have until Tuesday, November 24th to do so. Atlanta is surrounding Trae Young with shooters and the optimism is high for the Hawks.
While organizations make moves to help their future, the young stars of the NBA are cashing out to secure a future of their own. Here are the major contracts that we have seen throughout the first 4 days of free agency.
- De’Aaron Fox — 5 YR, $163 Million to stay with the Kings
- Jayson Tatum — 5 YR, $195 Million to stay with Boston
- Donovan Mitchell — 5 YR, $195 Million to stay with Utah
- Fred VanVleet — 4 YR, $85 Million to stay in Toronto
As with anything in competitive sports, there are winners and there are losers. The Trailblazers and Lakers are my winners of NBA Free Agency thus far. Here are a couple teams that have underwhelmed since the market opened. Really, it is only one team…
The Detroit Pistons have been throwing money around to absolutely anybody with a pulse. Through the first 5 hours of free agency, they had signed Mason Plumlee (3 YR, $25 Million), Jahlil Okafor (2 YR, $4 Million), Josh Jackson (TBD), and Jerami Grant (3 YR, $60 Million). It is reported that Jerami Grant was offered the same contract to stay with the Nuggets, a contending team in the West, but decided to join the Detroit Pistons… I would say that is a bad career move but that is just one mans opinion.
While most NBA franchises have been conservative in free agency to save up for a loaded 2021 free agent class, the Pistons have had other plans. Like most things, time will tell if these moves pay off for them. With the NBA Season beginning in less than a month, the Pistons will have plenty of new faces to get acclimated to their system.
It is widely recognized throughout the NBA that the Pistons have not had a good free agency, but maybe they know something we do not? I don’t know… I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it is hard when they toss out that kind of money to MASON PLUMLEE…
We have been treated to an eventful free agent frenzy, but it is not over yet. Woj and Shams presumably have not slept in a week or so. The competition between them to see who can break the news first has been as exciting to watch as the free agent moves themselves.
Pre-season games begin on December 11th, so each team that added new faces have little time to acclimate. Should be a fun 2020–2021 NBA season and I can’t wait for tip off.